Bucky Fuller once said that the construction industry was "40 years behind" in technology and when he wrote that in 1981 (Critical Path) it was certainly true. But now things appear to be changing. On a recent trip to Phoenix, Arizona we visited a new housing development - 210 homes - that is breaking out of the mold and embracing "green technology" - and without additional cost for energy saving.
High Performance Wall System
(3.5x more efficient than a standard wall)
Note: Demilec Spray Foam Insulation seals the home and attic. Keeps the air conditioning in and dirt and pollution out. Spray Foam Insulation provides less than 0.1 Air Exchanges per Hour (AEHs) vs. a typical home with 1 to 2 AEHs.
Note: High-performance windows provide a 0.34 U / 0.2 Solar Heat Gain Coefficient vs. a typical home 1.3 U / 0.9 SHGC.
Note: High-performance faucets and showerheads from Moen and Dual Actuated Toilets by Kohler are designed to save water by optimizing water flow without sacrificing performance. Dual flush toilet sectioned.
Note: SEER 14 AC and Energy Efficient Heat Pump together with a Programmable Thermostat delivers more comfort with less energy.
Pex Plumbing Pipe - Very Efficient
Note: The Rain Bird ESP-SMT Smart Control System combines the intuitiveness of Rain Bird's trusted Extra Simple Programming with the accuracy of weather-based control to help save time, money and water. Xeriscaping uses plants that need less water.
Note: The ECHO solar electric/thermal system produces up to 10,000 kWh energy offset annually. A typical home consumes 20,000 kWh of energy annually.
The panel has 9 solar electric modules and 3 thermal panels which are on the top. Also the heat is captured underneath the solar panels and directed through channels to the thermal panels and into the heat exchanger. The s-shaped roof tiles help with thermal capture and are long life.
Note: An electronic home-management system that can be monitored and controlled via a smart phone or computer. This also enables data collection for analysis and record keeping.
There were some other features like Energy Efficient Lighting - 80% Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL), and a post-tensioning method of strengthening the concrete slab using high strength steel strands or cables for stronger foundations.
Conclusion: The most impressive feature of the structure was the way the parts worked together, the synergy of the entire system. One would have to think that there was vision - and support for this vision - for the effort to reach completion. And that bodes well for the future. Bucky would be proud!
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